Sunday, September 29, 2013

Get Ready....Get Set.....ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Hi All,

This was a very strange weekend....some of it I actually remember.  So Friday the Princess and I launched on our weekend extravaganza to Williamsburg and surrounding environs.   

A little back May we were going to attend the TSRA cruise/gathering in Williamsburg.  It’s always a hoot and we reserved a room for two nights at the Country Inn and Suites in Williamsburg....real close to the event.  The Monday before the event I contracted shingles and we couldn’t go.  Since I booked the room via one of those online booking agencies, I could not get a refund.  I called the motel and talked to the manager....she said she understood my plight as her Mother had recently had the shingles and she knew how horrible they were.  She said she couldn’t refund my money but I could book another two nights in the future for no cost!  After recuperating from the shingles we decided to book for the weekend of 9-27- 29. 

So as I said we launched at 1PM and cruised the 115 miles to the motel in Williamsburg.  We were going to attend a Friday night cruise about 3 miles from the motel.  We were about two miles from the motel, on Rt. 60, and I leaned over to check the traffic light (my chopped top does not allow me to see traffic lights, the “light lady”, AKA The Princess, usually does that for me but occasionally I like to lean over to the right side and check for myself.) and when I returned to vertical I felt a little dizzy. 

Another back story....I am cursed with vertigo.  I get it about once every 2-4 years.  I have been taken to the hospital twice for it, no fun.  I have drugs that lessen the effects which are severe dizziness and nausea.  The drugs were home....  It usually takes 2-3 days for the effects to right themselves and during those days I’m incapacitated, in bed, horizontal, like in a coma.  The drugs let me come in and out of the coma....but I usually don’t remember much of those days. 

We continued on to the motel, we unloaded and set up the room.  Filled the refrigerator with our water and started to kill a couple hours before the cruise began.  I was getting dizzier as time went on....I told the Princess I would lay down for a few min and see if that helped.  It didn’t!  It was about this time that the Princess started to freak out....she said “we HAVE to get you HOME.....NOW.  She no doubt didn’t want to spend the next few hours taking me to the nearest hospital to get a shot for the vertigo (my drugs were at home....will add them to the pre-trip check list in the future) and then watch me sleep for three days in the motel.  So....she repacked all our stuff, checked out (the manager was so very accommodating....said no problem....just take the two nights another time!  I really like this motel; did I say it was Country Inn and Suites?) And we started our trip home.

The last back story....The Princess has not driven our truck, except for moving it once at VA BBQ last year.  I think she likes the idea of me driving, like in the old days.  The truck is ok but a little twitchy still so the first few miles was like a “Mr. Toads Wild Ride” at Disneyland.  And I’m dizzy and getting more nauseous as we go.  I feel confident in her abilities....she herded a school bus around for 27 years so this should be a piece of cake.....not so much.... 

The trip home was via Rt. 60> Rt. 30> Rt. 301> Rt. 2 and home.  All crowned two lane country roads....and it was getting dusk....  Right before we left, our neighbor (we watch each other’s homes when we go somewhere) told Linda that her husband just hit a deer yesterday....and we were on the same road that Dan hit the deer with his ‘55.  And on it goes.  But the Princess persevered like she always does and after about 3 hours we were home!  I took my medication and within 30 min I fell asleep. 

I remember parts of the last couple days....not many details....  I hope I didn’t say anything bad to anyone on Facebook or in email....?  And now I’m cured....till the next time! 

So....this coming weekend we will stay close to home.  We will visit VA BBQ Friday night and the BK in Manassas on Saturday.  We will leave the Eustace Rd. WAWA at 3PM Saturday.  Since AirFest is rapidly closing in on me I’ll be focused on that for the next two weeks.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A little driving....please.

Friday we had planned on visiting Ashland, VA and the weekly Chick-fil-A cruise but at the last minute we decided on staying close to home and visit VA BBQ in Fredericksburg instead.  Since it’s getting cooler it seems the crowds have been thinning out a bit and Friday there was about 35 vehicles at the Q.  All were the usual suspects except for the black ’54 Ford that had been made into a Ranchero of sorts.  It is an interesting idea and the second time in two weeks that I have seen something like that.  As the evening grew cooler we decided to call it a day and cruised home.
The weatherguessers were calling for lots of rain on Saturday but late in the afternoon so we took the day off.  The rain started around 5PM and would last till about midnight which may prove to be problematic for the event Sunday.  But around 8PM I received an email from Vince telling me that the show was a go!
Sunday we left Stafford at 8AM and cruised 46 miles to the Orange County, VA airport.  The Orange County Cruisers were holding their event that got rained out in June and we always try to make their deals.  Last year the event was rained out and the makeup date didn’t work for us and the year before I got sick so the Princess went by herself.  So I had not been to the airport for a few years and when I arrived I found that a lot had changed….like all the baseball diamonds, the soccer fields, the new roads in and around the park….it all made a good venue much better.  The permanent restrooms were clean and well stocked….something that is always welcome and the food was pretty good for car show fare.  The weather could not be improved on….mid 70’s temp, deep blue sky, puffy clouds and a 8-10 mph breeze….it really was comfortable.  Except for the morning dew on the grass the field was solid….no worries.  They also have the coolest DJ around smacking out the tunes.  Except for one missing song, he has a great playlist and runs fun activities during the event to keep everyone interested.  Sadly this will be Ron’s last year at the DJ table….he wants to take some time enjoying the retirement he worked for so many years to secure.  He has a motor home that would dwarf the space shuttle!  So….goodbye DJ Ron, hello RV Ron….the highways will never be the same…grin  We parked with Lou & Arlene and shared a canopy all day….it’s always fun spending the day with friends at a car show.
The event had only around 70 vehicles attend….no doubt because of the rain the night before.   As I have said before shows and cruises have a personality and this show is loose and comfortable….kinda nice just to be part of it.  They also attract a higher percentage of pre 1970 cars which is ok….but I like them all!  The one vehicle I always like to see is the pearl white ’32 Ford PU with a blown Boss 429 motor with the radiator in the bed of the truck.  I really like this setup.  I also like Jerry’s green ’51 shoebox along with red/white ’59 Buick.  But the coolest vehicle was the Rat Rod….it had many different parts to make the whole, 32 Chevy grille, some Packard parts, .50 Cal. Ignition wire separators, a belt of 7.62 machine gun blanks….too many interesting parts….and there was always a crowd around the truck….and a young guy was the owner….too kool. 
Lou floated the idea and the Princess & Arlene decided that we should take a cruise after the show and go to Elkton, about 44 miles away and check out a cruise there and then try an Italian restaurant out that Lou said was “OK”.  The cruise took us through the gorgeous Virginia countryside….becoming one with the rolling hills, the trees and wild flowers….it really is almost a spiritual experience.  Till….the Princess says to me “the telephone poles are crooked”….”and some are bent”!  Huh?  “How did they get that way?  Is it global warming?  Who would put something up like that?  Why don’t they fix them, they look so messy”.  I think to myself….has the Princess turned into an escapee from a ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ movie set?  Who cares about the telephone poles with all the scenery to behold?  But no….we talked about maybe they are naturally warping as they age, maybe the prevailing wind bends them….  Then she saw about 400 rolled up straw bales and the telephone poles were history….yup.
So when we arrived at the cruise it seemed very unfriendly, only one way in and out and the lot was full and no one offered to assist us!  So we backed out and drove across the street to the Italian restaurant for dinner.
Ciro’s Italian Eatery is one of the three best Italian restaurants we have tried.  The wait staff is top notch, very attentive and helpful.  The outside porch is just perfect for viewing the sweeping Virginia foothills.  And the food is superb; cooked correctly, nice portions and presented proficiently.  The Princess had Chicken Marsala and I tried the Gnocchi Ciro’s, both were just right.  The fried cheesecake is as good as it gets!   I would whole heartily recommend Ciro’s to anyone wanting to sample some authentic Italian fare, you will not be disappointed.
Soon it was time to cruise back home….we said our goodbyes to Lou & Arlene then began our 90 mile cruise to the Shotwell hovel….another great day enjoying God’s breathtaking  grandeur and wonderful friends while driving around in hot rods….I love this hobby.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Three up....three down...

Friday afternoon Ron & Jean and the Princess & I began our 75 mile cruise to Louise, VA.  We met Lou & Arlene in Culpeper so all 6 of us could cruise together to Kenny & the Cruizers Cruise In.  We had tried to fit this event in our plans all year but something else always came up….this was the last time for the year so we made sure we got there.

The event is held at Kenny’s Central Tire & Auto which is right on Rt. 33, 22 & 208 in downtown Louisa.  The lot is a little tight but adequate for the size of the cruise.  The restrooms were inside, well maintained and very nice.  Kenny’s crew cooked up hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ and BBQ chicken for contributions to Louisa Food Pantry.  They also provided soft drinks and bottled water free of charge!  The food was tasty, above average for this kind of event….and it was welcome after our long trek through the Virginia countryside to get there.  They also had a silent auction and a 50/50 that benefited the Food Pantry.  This is how Americans deal with those less fortunate among us….we take care of our own, we don’t rely on Govt. handouts.  They also played a good list of music for background noise….I love it!  Arlene & the Princess won a silent auction and Jean missed the $88 50/50 by one number….and we had to listen to that on Saturday & Sunday….just ONE number!
So….you go to a “country” cruise and expect to see tractors and farm pickups….really?  The 60 some vehicles that cruised in were all great examples of our “car culture”.  Some daily driven rides with bugs in the grilles to National car show quality rides.  The copper & maroon ‘56 Ford Pickup might just be one of the 5 best pickups I have ever seen….it’s just that good!  The red DeTomaso is a seldom seen car and this one was done for looks as well as running.  The red & black original ’34 Ford Pickup was much better than new and the silver & orange ’39 Olds was really special….with the blown motor!  So if you go to a “country” cruise in Virginia….you just might be surprised what shows up!
About 9PM we packed up and headed home….since it was dark we chose the shorter route, about 55 miles, across Lake Anna.  This is more fun than old people should be allowed to have….grin!
Saturday Ron & Jean and the Princess & I cruised to Colonial Beach and the annual Jim Stills 1954 Ford Museum picnic.  We have attended all but one of these deals….and it’s always fun.
Jim & John manage the event with the support of the Colonial Beach Cruisers.  John does all the cooking, Jim runs around waving his arms making sure everything goes as it should.  The Colonial Beach Cruisers usually are very well represented in the lot and some of us from Stafford always show up.  This event is just as it is advertised….a picnic….you just drive your hot rod instead of your daily driver.  Jim & John make some games with an automotive flair.  Like the lifter toss, piston ring toss, piston & rod toss, push rod drop, nut stack and flywheel spin.  But the most fun is the blind driving race!  HUH….   Yup it’s the ginchiest….  The track is about 150 ft. long and 20 ft wide….the driver lines up on the start line, aligns the vehicle with the side lines….the driver is then blindfolded and told to lightemup…..grin  The driver then determines when to stop without going over the finish line.  Some drivers try to time it to know when to stop, some listen to ambient noise from the crowd to gauge where they are on the track, some have become one with their vehicle so that they ‘just know’ how far they have gone and when to stop.  I think the guy that won has an implant that is uplinked to 7 geosynchronous satellites which will project his location on the inside of his eyelid…..he was that close!  This is really a fun event and the more participants the merrier.
The Princess won the piston throw contest….think about that.  She also tied in the push rod drop….  John said that he believes in sharing the wealth and just because the Princess actually won two contests, she should be happy to let someone else win one too….that is not a concept the Princess understands.  I tried to explain it to her that she had to sacrifice once in a while for the bigger good and let someone else enjoy the fruit of her magnificence….share….another word not in her lexicon.  She just stood there….I thought she was going to start talking through her teeth, another bad sign.  Did you ever see a deer in the headlights?  She stood there and looked at me….then John….then me again, I started getting nervous.  I think she called John a name that I can’t spell so I won’t try.  This is another one of those times I had to reflect on the wisdom of allowing a redhead to be armed….whew  I quickly started dangling my keys in the sunlight till she got distracted enough to forget about “sharing”….you have no idea.
The hot rods that show up are usually varied and unusual….this year was no exception.  Hoppy brought his red & white ’55 Ford golf cart!  That is a very cool deal….and it was a perfect garage mate to Jim’s yellow ’54 Ford golf cart.  I liked the orange & white ’56 Ford Ranchero….it started out as a station wagon and the owner turned it into what you see in the pictures….just too cool.  And the finished ’54 Fords that Jim displays are all unique….and he has many “in waiting” to work on….it never ends.  Jim has built the building like a ‘50’s car dealership would have looked like.  Complete with the wall murals and other memorabilia.  He has a 292 OHV motor on a stand that is original, not hot rodded.  It’s really a neat place to visit…but it is by appointment only, usually only during the picnic he has each year.  So….don’t miss it next year if you are a fan of the 1954 Ford.
The four of us cruised home but since we were within 1200 furlongs of Carl’s Ice Cream we were legally constrained to stop and buy ice cream.  I know I know….but the law is the law….  A great ending to a fun day….I love this hobby.
Sunday the Princess and I left Stafford around 6AM and cruised 21 miles to Occoquan, VA and the Prince William Cruisers, 5th annual  Benefit Car Show at the Occoquan Regional Park.  We like to help the club because they give to worthy charities and we have some friends in the club….so it works out just fine.  I help Jo & Roger with the registration and the Princess helps with the T shirt sales and this year she helped sell raffle tickets for a Harley afghan one of the club member’s wives crocheted. Dan & Ramona also assist the club, Ramona sells the T shirts and Dan helps with the entry gate registration.
This is one of the larger shows in the area, usually attended by 200 vehicles.  This year it was right at that number plus or minus a couple.  The show is on a rolling grass field with the vehicles lined up in long rows.  The quality of the vehicles is always top notch but this time some of them surprised me.  And two of my favorites were pickups!  The silver/maroon Chevy AD and the orange ‘56 Ford F100 were National show quality pickups.  I also liked the yellow Mack semi tractor and the red car hauler with the bathtub tied on the bed.  Jim’s yellow ’72 Plymouth Satellite (Road Runner) was just too smooth and the orange/black ’37 Ford was very unique.  There was no shortage of enviable vehicles.
The event features a live band, Route 66, which keeps things jumping all day….in fact some come just to listen to the band.  One of the vendors on the show field was selling hot dogs and BBQ and I’m told it was good.  The bathrooms have always been a problem here and they still are.  Besides being too far for people to walk to them, the men’s facility had water (I think it was just water) all over the floor.  It was not only unsanitary it was unsafe.  The women’s facility was still too far away but I’m told it was nice inside.  There were a number of other vendors that made the day a little more interesting, this really helps.
The weather was a chamber of commerce postcard perfect….really perfect!  As I’ve written before this club runs their deals with the precision of German railroad….it WILL be on time!  Steve and his group start the judging early in the morning, as soon as the cars are set up.  So by the time the registration closes at noon the judging is almost done.  They give out top 75 awards….75!  And they have 5 ‘best of’ awards.  Steve and his judging group have the fairest process I’ve seen.  You will always have unhappy people no matter who judges but this club does it as right as can be done.  It’s also neat to see all the club members step up and do their part to make the show the success it always is.  And it is truly amazing to watch them take everything down….all the tables, chairs, tents….everything done with the precision of a marching band within 30 min!  This is a show you have to put on your calendar next year.
We were on the road to Stafford by 4PM so we decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner….Zibibo’s in Stafford serves the finest Sicilian fare….so we ate till we couldn’t move and moseyed home to fall asleep by 8PM….   What a weekend….it will take 5 days to rest up for next weekend!  Keep on moving….

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Going South

The Princess and I found out that a couple we knew in church for a long time here in Stafford but had moved south a few years ago was active in the “car” scene again.  So I contacted Dave to see what was going on around him with the cars so we could journey down and visit with them.  He mentioned an event in Harrisonburg at the Nazarene Church and then one of my Facebook “friends” posted something about it too, so we decided to give it a try.   

Friday at 1PM Ron & Jean and the Princess and I began our 105 mile cruise to Harrisonburg, VA and the Crosswalk Adventures Fall Cruise.   
Since it started at 5PM and ended late we decided to get a motel and stay overnight…..a good idea!  Even with one pit stop we arrived at 3:30.  Cruising for two and a half hours in the Virginia countryside on lesser traveled roads is a treat in itself but to end the day visiting with old friends at a car cruise is even better.  And that the cruise was the largest gathering of special cars we had been with since the NSRA Richmond events made it even more special.  Then we all finished the day trying out the Wood Grill Restaurant!  What a day! 

As soon as the Princess picked out her “special” spot to park we set up camp and soon began catching up….and the cars kept coming in!  I’m told about 475 cars visited the event, which I can believe!  When we arrived there were about 60 cars parked….by 5:30 almost 350 cars were parked!  They came in so quick and from two different entrances I couldn’t keep up with them individually so I shot a lot of overall pictures to convey a feeling for the amount of cruisers.  And….there was a couple hundred spectator cars too!  This is a really big event!

The event attracts ALL types of vehicles….stock antiques, muscle cars, street rods, race cars, traditional hot rods, rat rods, customs, new & old….if you can drive it in….it’s welcome here!  The music was fun to listen to and the restrooms were inside the Church and very nice.  The church was selling food and I’m told it was very tasty!  I love to eat at Churches, the ladies always try to outdo each other and the results are some fabulous food!  Don’t miss this part….

There were many very nice vehicles….too numerous to mention individually.  And since we were “catching up” with our friends I didn’t document each vehicle as I usually do….next time I will have a plan!  Please check out the pictures I did take at the event.  Some of you know the Princess has agreed to chronicle our traveling when she isn’t doing Princess stuff….so be sure to check out her ‘on the road pictures’.  We are going to put this event on our “must attend” list for next year….you should too.






Monday, September 9, 2013

Going North....

Sunday we launched from Stafford at 5AM….yup in the dark!  This would be the fourth year we have attended this show and as with many successful events like this, people know you must arrive early to get the parking place you want.  And each year the “arrival time” moves up a little because you are not the only one that knows you must arrive early.  When we first attended this event we got there about 7:30….Sunday we got there at 6:20 and there were already 35 cars parked!  We had to park down the street further than we ever had done before but in the end it was ok.  The organizers mercifully placed the loud speakers far enough away from us that we could carry on a normal conversation while the music was playing.  The new location also had trees….sap dropping trees but still trees that kept us in the shade till near the end of the event!  The sap is water degradable and will be gone when we detail the car this week.

This event is growing and this year 150+ entrants made it a record year….and the variety of the vehicles keeps improving too.  The AARP gang runs the deal like a watch and when they say the awards will begin at 2:30….you can set your watch by that!  The Roller Derby girls skate around to the participants and take food orders, and then bring the food to you!  The D.J. has a great play list and he could not have picked a better “work” ride, it just fits!  The recipient of the proceeds, James Mason Nursing Students, stroll around offering to take your blood pressure, making sure people were hydrating by giving water out, answering health questions and generally provide a presence to thank the attendees for coming to the event.  There is a group of singers, The Chorus of the Old Dominion, that provide acapella singing of period music that is always welcome and in the afternoon there is 50’s dancing in the street!  How cool is that?
The awards are determined by participant AND spectator voting.  This is frustrating to car people because the spectators usually don’t know much about the vehicles we drive.  They don’t know the work and dollars that goes into all of the vehicles or the different disciplines involved.  From rat rods, customs, full restoration muscle cars and antiques and street rods.  They don’t know the rarity of some of the vehicles either….  So for the participants it’s kind of questionable to have spectators join in the voting….but I have seen more of this kind of process this year than any time before.  It gets the spectators involved and allows them to confirm what they like with their vote.  And it’s easier for the organizers in that they don’t have to respond to people that thought their vehicle deserved to be recognized over the ones that did….it’s a tough balance but the process is not popular with some.
The only other thing I didn’t care for was the restroom facilities….they were marginal in the morning and unusable by the afternoon.  For an event of this caliber the restroom facilities need to be better.  The one shop, an ice cream store, was inundated with people needing to use their restroom facilities.  I’m sure they sold some ice cream to the people that felt guilty using their restroom but there were many that did not buy anything.  The organizers have to consider the cliental….we’re not country bumpkins that don’t have indoor plumbing….we know.  This issue pretty much ruined the day for me.

AARP will be giving the management duties to the Rotary beginning next year….The AARP has done a great job of bringing this kind of event to Herndon….thanks for the memories.